Hearing Aids: Myth vs Fact

At ENTA, our otolaryngologists and audiologists are frequently asked similar questions by many patients, which illustrates a lot of misinformation regarding hearing aids. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions, as well as more information regarding the topic.

Q- Can I buy over the counter (OTC) hearing aids and bring them to my audiologist to program?

A - Myth! OTC hearing aids require self-programming and are unable to be programmed by an audiologist. They do not use any of the fitting software available to audiologists. This is one of the two largest differences between OTC and prescription hearing aids. Learn about the other difference below.

Q - Are Prescription and OTC hearing aids are the same?

A - Myth! Prescription hearing aids are programmed by an audiologist, have significantly more advanced features, and are able to be reprogrammed an infinite number of times to create an extremely custom prescription fit. OTC hearing aids have very few options that can be reprogrammed, are not fit by an audiologist, and are more like reader’s glasses in that they are not a prescriptive fit.

Q – Can hearing aids worsen my hearing?

A - Myth! Many patients are concerned that utilizing hearing aids will worsen their hearing. While this is false, and hearing aids can’t improve hearing, they can help prevent hearing loss from worsening. Research shows that patients who utilize hearing aids sooner rather than later are much more likely to preserve their speech understanding abilities. Additionally, untreated hearing loss has a two to five times higher risk of dementia. One study found that more than 8% of cases of dementia were caused by untreated hearing loss. I like to tell my patients that hearing aids are important not only for hearing, but also for preserving cognition.

Q – Do hearing aids come in many styles with high tech features?

A - True! Many hearing aids have rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth connectivity to stream from your phone, and the ability to analyze your acoustic environment hundreds of times a second! They also minimize background noise, enhance speech information, and can detect the type of environment you’re in: quiet, noisy, multiple speakers, multiple speakers in background noise, music, and more!

Q – Can any hearing aid help me?
A - Myth! Although it’s true that any hearing aid is better than no hearing aid, different severities of hearing loss have different needs; some patients require hearing aids capable of delivering much more power. Hearing aids are not a “one size fits all” device.

Q – Do all hearing aids have the same features?

A - Myth! Although hearing aids from the largest manufacturers do share many similar features such as directional microphones and background noise reduction, each manufacturer is a bit different, and there are multiple technology levels with different price points intended to meet the needs of our wide variety of patients.

ENT and Allergy Associates, LLP is the premier hearing service provider in the New York and New Jersey area. Unlike most other solo audiology practices, our offices combine the medical expertise of our ENT physicians and the diagnostic and rehabilitative skills of our certified audiologists to provide the most comprehensive care possible. As such, we can offer the full spectrum of available treatments, in addition to the most advanced digital hearing aids.

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